Lack of Insurance Could End Louisiana Town’s Patrols

November 8, 2013

The town of Sorrento, La., has less than two weeks to find insurance to back its police department before the current insurance lapses.

Assistant Police Chief Ricky Smith says he has submitted paperwork to six different insurance providers. A plan must be approved by Nov. 19 to keep the officers on the street.

Smith told the town council Tuesday that with no insurance he will not allow officers to use police cars, patrol or answer calls.

Insurer Risk Management informed the town in an Oct. 21 letter it was canceling liability insurance on the Police Department and police vehicles effective Nov. 19.

Mayor Mike Lambert said he would contact Risk Management on Wednesday to schedule a meeting.

Lambert says it’s up to Chief Earl Theriot, who is currently on medical leave, to turn the reins over to Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley if the insurance does lapse and the town needs help patrolling.

“I believe the sheriff will help us, for the short term,” said Lambert. “For long term, we would need to negotiate a contract with the sheriff to do long-term patrol work until we can find an insurance carrier that’s willing to carry us.”

The council is split on turning the duties over to the sheriff.

“I do not think it is right to put the sheriff in that type of position, when we’re financially stable,” said Councilman Randy Anny.

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